By Marcie Hahn-Knoff Explorebigsky.com Contributor
Photo by Jon Marshall
If you tune into the radio in southwest Montana you’ve probably heard her voice, uniquely identifiable by its textured and smoky timbre.

She may have been working as a DJ at a party, a wedding, trivia night or resort event you’ve attended, or you may have found yourself sipping a nightcap while surrounded by her refreshingly offbeat lounge music. And, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard her giggle as she snowboarded past you on a powdery morning at Bridger Bowl.

Just who is this woman of many talents?

A. Missy Cashman

B. Missy O’Malley

C. DJ Miss Illaneous

D. All of the above.

If you answered D you’re looking smart.

Missy is a Renaissance woman, bursting with energy and always on the go. She thinks big and isn’t afraid to turn her dreams into reality—helped by her remarkably diverse taste in music and comedienne-esque personality.

Missy is a rising star, one to watch as she moves and shakes her way to the top. She’s currently booking gigs for 2013 and beyond. Find out more about her upcoming events on Facebook: Missy O’Malley

Q+A

How did you end up in Bozeman?
I studied electronic media at the University of Dayton (in Ohio), focusing on broadcast journalism and film editing. When I graduated, my classmates headed for jobs with Conan, CNN and other media outlets, but I didn’t feel like that was the right move for me. I was drawn to the West by my extended family and the opportunity to snowboard and enjoy the mountains here. I love living in Bozeman and plan to wring every last drop of fun I can out of this place.

How did you end up on the radio?
When I first got to Montana, I waited tables to make ends meet. One evening I was ‘discovered’ when I waited on a former program director for KISS FM. They had a DJ vacancy, so I quit my serving job and was thrown on the air. When I called my mom to tell her the good news she replied, “Thank god you got a job where you get paid to talk.”

What’s up with the three names?
In radio it’s common for DJs to use an alias and Cashman (my given name) didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. My mom suggested I use O’Malley since it makes you smile when you say it (just try it). And my live DJ name, DJ Miss Illaneous, was inspired by my love for all types of music and not being able to stick to a specific genre.

How did you get involved with public radio?
I was laid off from my radio job in 2010 due to the economic downturn. With some free time, I completed the apprentice program at KGLT and teamed up with Rachel Hergett to co-host the Magic Monday show. Volunteering at KGLT and working as their hip-hop director has helped put the soul back in my music. Recently KISS asked me to come back, and I’m now an evening DJ for them again, too.

When did you decide to become a live DJ?
A while back I was approached by friends to DJ their weddings and events. I lucked out and found a vintage Technics 1200 turntable and a second from a pal that was sitting in his garage collecting dust. I’ve added a mixer and speakers—my setup has really come together. I’m booked for all sorts of events this summer—Roller Derby bouts, the PRIDE festival and 16 weddings. I’m officiating five weddings as well.

What has made you successful?
It has a lot to do with my upbringing. I grew up in Bismarck, N.D. and am the fourth child of six. My mother is originally from New York, and my dad is a Minnesota farm boy. I ended up with a friendly and talkative personality with a hint of brass. Our dinner table was anything but quiet—we were constantly telling jokes.

My mother is a college speech teacher in Bismarck and is a stickler for proper speech. She used to tape the Academy Awards and replay the acceptance speeches. My siblings and I would count the number of ums, likes and OKs. Exercises like this taught me to speak clearly and articulately—and how to tell a good story.

What kind of music stirs your soul?
I love anything that gets your toes tapping, puts the beat in your feet, the glide in your stride and the rocks in your socks—hip-hop, funk, reggae and punk rock. I have a soft spot for oldies and vintage soul. I absolutely love Sam Cooke—in another life I swear I could be married to him. Growing up, I was exposed to a variety of music by my family. My Dad loved Motown, my brother was obsessed with The Doors and one of my sisters was a punk rocker who played the cello.

What’s next?
I’ve just committed to throwing the first annual Missy O’Malley Variety Show and Birthday Celebration at the Emerson Center on March 19, 2013. The night will feature up to 30 performing acts—featuring music, dancing, circus acts, live art creation and more. My role in this event is akin to what Kermit did for the Muppets—his talent was bringing them all together to create something larger than themselves.

In addition to actively booking future DJ gigs, I’ve also been toying with the idea of doing a talk show on TV or radio. I’d like to be a positive and entertaining informational voice in the media. I don’t have time in my life for negativity.

When not hammering away on her computer, Marcie Hahn-Knoff can usually be found roller derbying, climbing, hiking, biking or hula-hooping in the backyard. She also crafts and sells bomb-proof collapsible travel hula-hoops. Find them at hooplahulahoops.com